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tv   Book Discussion on Washington Journal  CSPAN  September 3, 2014 2:15am-3:13am EDT

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trail working harder than your opponent to shake more hands would lead to victory. with long hours resolve to read every piece of legislation to ensure success and reelection. it disrupted that calculus the retractable odds the chronic energy dependence and the islamic revolution in iran the political opposition from his own party that simply would not yield to hard work for longer hours. that shattering electoral losses in 1980 not only was the end of his political career by repudiation of the notion that if you just work harder and longer for his efforts would be rewarded. the electric now recognized
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he was doing everything humanly possible working as hard as he could to solve these problems. after serving his defeat carter reaffirmed his commitment as a way to redeem his losses and the carter center would be an activist institution and habitat for humanity was not nothing if not an activist organization in the former president would not retire quietly into private life and there was work to be done eradicating disease monitoring elections elections, building houses and teaching sunday school with military confrontations and making peace. if carter could work hard enough he could accumulate enough merit to cut the balance of history in his favor.
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to a remarkable degree his commitment was success although they continued to criticize and ridicule his presidency the story is regarded more favorably. of his activities after leaving office earned him praise and grudging admiration with that ultimate delegation and at what point does he earned a reprieve? when can he relaxed? certainly not on the sunday even after teaching sunday school imposing with a tour is the only questions for a biographer and habitat for humanity donors as i was down highway 61 and carter bodice beating off on a
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crowded schedule. the former president pushing 90 years old still a restless man but still the frenetic benevolence that continues says martin luther recognizes centuries earlier those that subscribe to the righteousness never be certain they have accumulated enough merit jimmy carter does not lack so much for passion. the man whose probable election in 1976 brought the nation from watergate's and he earned his own redemption. carter himself however would be the last to know. thank you. [applause] >> we will take a few
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minutes of questions. and you don't need to grab the microphone. >> talk about the current use of evangelical in the '60s it with differentiate but now it is all in the newspapers. i again to go back for the evangelical. >> that is a great question. jerry falwell himself said that a fundamentalist is an evangelical is something -- someone is mad about something but falwell
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always wanted to identify himself because he thought evangelicals were prone to compromise. it is the reverberations of the tea party stuff. he thought there were too willing to compromise and he wanted to maintain a hard edge. so the terms are somewhat interchangeable with that militancy rather than evangelicals. but you are right to there is not a great deal of theological issues. >> can you tell us your opinion on the juxtaposition of antiabortion expansion of alcohol and guns in georgia
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of legislative session? >> there are other people better qualified to comment than i. water use suggesting? >> that over here is antiabortion and alcohol and guns are on this side it is the opposite. >> ic with libertarians sentiments? >> that is fascinating to me. i don't want to be pretentious but it does strike me as curious that people who attend to talk about less government and less interference of private lives are willing to work for the hautboys that are more interested if. it is the great paradox that nobody has explained to me how that works.
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arguably on the other spectrum as well that those that repeated the have more favorable regulation to have of your pro-choice position so there is that contradiction but evangelicals frankly it proved this coming it is not necessarily a logical issue and they have to be averted were other things happened in the late '70s to account for that series by m man named francis and schaefer and c. everett coop really does educates evangelicals about the abortion issue and this was the pattern of moral decay.
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but throughout the '70s through 79 is not the evangelical issue. >> bill clinton spoke and the current president that showcases that conversation he does not go to the service publicly for literature or bible verses that carter was able to open >> a wonderful question. podiatrists this issue in the book arguing guide in the white house with that ministerial association
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related to establish this idea of presidential politics and what he did was tell voters to vote when they went to the polls. when i have that paradigm with politics up and tell 76 which was carter, how many people here could tell me what lyndon johnson's religious affiliation was? most people say baptist. but most people don't know that. but in a backhanded way nixon produces it because
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when the '76 campaign will sit around they have to have some sort of sense up in the moral compass in the the question has persisted and is dying away now endless million to that is but one of the problems is we don't know how to ask the question. to be more of a reliable. the other way is it is not a good question because of flawed assumption to be
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affiliated that is simply false. in that way get away from that question in the further we are. but carter's campaign is the reversal in the fact that we spoke about it so freely with his appeal. >> i've loved your closing sentence. maybe he was the last one to no. what's was his feedback? >> steve is more likely to review the and i am. we just sent it to him last week. iodine to space make city is
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not the last one. [laughter] >> but to be clearer that carter is animated or of assessed at don't think that is the bad thing. the world is of better place i don't question that for a moment. but even approaching 90 years old has no indication to lets up. but i think of the most recent book he has not been an advocate for choice.
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>> carter's relationship with the southern baptist convention by rights is a dysfunctional marriage in the then occasional attempts at reconciliation. it began to go south and he saw that as the real wake-up call. one of the southern baptist leaders comes shortly thereafter and his conversation with the president i am paraphrasing a but it's a lot of us pray they will abandon your religious secular your humanism's and then he says
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with a secular humanism? [laughter] and then the central issue for him as people low one of the first things the new conservative leadership the baptist convention did in 1979 but mr. carter does not go along and i applaud him for that. >> his own church split over integration? >> that was long before on
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the national scene but it was a civil rights era where there were doing something called visitations in churches on sunday mornings and then to turn away a major source of embarrassment. , and another person in the congregation voted from the plains baptist church. instill after leaving the white house. in part because of the racial inclusiveness.
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event a priest in macadamia researching jimmy carter you were in a position to talk a religion in america. [laughter] but that is too broad of a question but one example is the ruling that said a town in new york can begin public meetings with prayers and the rationale is it is unconstitutional because it is so ceremonial it doesn't mean anything anymore. and those were not raised religious households get that is what they know from watching the news.
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[laughter] [applause] >> i would hate have paid to do that from a different lecture but that issue could not be more right. in the separation of church and state but there are two fundamental characteristics of baptism one is the separation of church and state going back to roger williams as a very perceptive question but roger williams talks about separating via guardian of his church by means of the wall of separation.
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but it comes from roger williams. the puritans were not members of the sierra club. when they talk about wilderness, that was a place of desolation, a danger were evil lurks. williams talks about protecting the garden of the church from the wilderness of the world and says in a fact let's protect the integrity of the faith by not confusing it with politics over the state in that is the formulation in my judgment how this plays out. allotted you remember next door the monument of the ten
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commandments and i was one of the few baptists a round because roger williams was absolutely right because when you do that thing you trivialize the faith. so the judge ruled, i will get it later. i forget right now we're was unconstitutional because it kyle they did the establishment clause and workers were preparing to remove the monument to other protesters screamed get your hand off my god. said is something of an image that is precisely the
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point. when you do that sort of thing that acknowledges meeting was you trivialize the faith and that is the danger. i am not worried this system will start crumbling because the city council in idaho or upstate new york opens with the a prayer i am not worried about that but the intended faith that is the real danger like the decision that just came down. great question. >> thank you. [applause] >> this has been a fascinating book with jimmy carter. you want to give a copy of
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"redeemer: the life of jimmy carter" and he will be signing books.
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>> they were always very welcoming to me. and i have to tell you that publishers and authors do all kinds of sorts of things to be able to speak at this marvelous place. and it was lovely and as david said, brad and melissa had carried on the wondrous tradition that began with the energy and ingenuity.
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and they are keeping going and tonight is a testimony to the job that they do and the reverend that they did for books that we all share. richard nixon is a hard man to let go of. [laughter] i first remember him as a child in a black-and-white fuzzy television, seeing this odd man. he was on the ticket with general eisenhower. there was some problem of taking money from this secret funds. he was blaming his daughter's dog. and i thought, isn't he interesting. well, he never stopped being interesting. richard nixon was never boring. and if david mentioned, he was probably as interesting in his after presidency as he was during his presidency. i chronicled in the book, beginning when spiro agnew got
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into some trouble. and i said to my editor at the new yorker that the legendary william shah said what do you think of writing next. i said, i don't know. i think that we will write something about changing vice presidents and presidents within a year. this was back in 1973. we agreed that i would write a journal, not a diary, but we would interpret it and talk about it. and we knew where it was going. as we said at the time, we don't know how to change vice presidents. we didn't know how to do anything. we didn't know how to change vice presidents, we didn't know how to impeach a president, we didn't know how to get another president, it was all kind of made up as we went along. and the loose way that the word
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impeachment is tossed around is disconcerting. i have so much to talk about, so we might have to get to the later. but if there is such a thing, the way that richard nixon was almost impeach was really the model, a change from the center, it was bipartisan and it was a very fair and methodical way. so richard nixon had no choice finally but to resign. he held out and he held out and the republican senators and to conduct the trial. they went to get this thing over with and they wanted gerald ford in there before the election. so we held this iconic goodbye as he ran into the helicopter to go to san clemente, his western white house where he would retire and never be heard from again. and so we thought. well, that is not the nixon that i know.
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when he got to california he was understandably deeply depressed. he had worked for decades to get to the highest place that he possibly could that anyone can in his country, politically. and it was a dog on smash. and he had done a fair amount to bring it on. but he always believed that people were out to get him which is what really brought about his downfall and this became a big problem for him. he was depressed. he was not well. he had a trip that he took toward the end. but he was not going to give up. he had never given up all his life. he had been seen as lesser and lower than others. he was poor.
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his family was dysfunctional. there was no word back then about this, but they were a dysfunctional family. but they admired the constitution. he had been down upon as a kid, he read a lot and he was not popular. he never really had friends. in a strange person to go into politics, but he was determined about everything. so he was determined that this would not be the end of richard nixon. no, no, he was going to work his way back into respectability. to you can imagine that this was a situation that sort of crush most people and so he drew up a plan. he always had a plan. and they chew up a plan called wizards. this was supposed to be the
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resurgence of him as a statesman. he was smart enough to know that how do you get to be a statesman. well, people are going to listen to you on foreign policy and not just education or environment, there are issues for him. they had great triumphs with the soviet union and the opening to china and china was really the one dearest to his heart. and so he began to make speeches and he began to take trips and he went to china and he issued pronouncements as if he were still presidents or he thought he was and he never quite really changed. and then of course deleted to the press and it would be in the papers and he had the famous
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interviews with david frost, which were not as per trade. you can look it up and take that apart. they just lucked out a few words that were inconvenient to the story. and then he began to get bored and san clemente. he moved to new york where he lost the california governorship and the presidency in 1960 and everybody thought, well, he's gone. but he was never gone. he was so much fun. and he was so interesting. in any event he moved to new york and he and pat nixon, she was thrilled to be out of politics at last. and they bought a brownstone. and they had been living at various co-ops and so forth. and he would have contact with
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the bankers and publishers and whatever. and this was just in the last two years that we discovered during his presidency, which i found was interest them. so he would have these dinners and everything was clockwork. at 7:00 o'clock he met people at the front door and they went upstairs and he really prided himself on the dry martinis that he made. this was not a man that was good at small talk him up but he chatted away. the house will run up in chinese the core and the appetizers were chinese. the waiters were chinese. the dinner was chinese. and then after dinner they would go upstairs and it wasn't organized subject at dinner and then they would go upstairs and
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there would be some were chatting and nixon would look up at 10:30 p.m., he would look of a clock and say, oh, it's 10:30 p.m., and i promise that i would hit david cohen to the house of prostitution by 11:00 o'clock. so everyone new to it. but these individuals were all over new york and they all wanted to come. and so he became a celebrity. and after a while he talked about the atmosphere for his grandchildren, on whom he dealt it. and there was another generation to cultivate. so he had a series of dinners in saddle river where roger stone, he was an operative who invited journalists and he could be very impressive.
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he spoke just with a microphone and he talked about foreign leaders he had known and everyone was very impressed. and he had something that he just sort of love. henry kissinger sort of choked as he gave this little talk. bob dole had a tear coming down his eyes and he bob dole had been asked, would you like him to make an appearance in kansas and bob dole said a flyover would do. [laughter] and so nixon would have seen straight through these guys. he knew that kissinger was bad mouthing him and he understood
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everything that was going on and he was on to them. but he would've been pleased with this. and i have to say that i kind of miss him because he was so interesting. so why did i write this journal in the first place? per spoke to mr. shaw in the bathroom, he had this idea for keeping the journal at the time. and we didn't know what was going. so we came back to washington and this is also why we are here again. my mentor at the time, john gartner came to me and said elizabeth, write it so that four years from now people will know what it was like then. it cannot be recaptured. and i don't know that i wrote it any differently with them in mind. i didn't know whether i would be around him for in 40 years. but it does happen that in order years from now this is not an
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anniversary book and the book was out of print. and so i wrote to peter mayer of the press and i had a very distinguished book list and he wrote back and said yes, we are going to reissue the book in hardback. well, my heart skipped. and then i said, welcome i will write an afterward to clear things up. and it was a 10,000 word addition, part of which i told you. and i also look back on what was watergate? with all due respect it wasn't to reporters doing outstanding reporting. it wasn't petty crimes or a weekend. the break-in that was caught, and i learned this as i was doing my reporting many years later, it was actually the fourth attempt of the burglars to get into watergate. the first time they planned a
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grand dinner inside and they didn't get up to the building and there is just one thing, one thing led to another and they ended up there that night. so the next time they went out and they got their but they didn't have any equipment to pick the lock. so one of the burglars was back in miami and got a good lock pick and they came in and they actually got in over the memorial day weekend. but as is often the case, they screwed it up and they put the tap on the wrong phone and the pictures were all blurred heard one of the burglars took this to john mitchell, the former attorney general that was then head of the committee to reelect the president.
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and mitchell reportedly said that go back and get better pictures and fix the tap. then they went in and they were caught. and so when you think about watergate, we think about this. we had a white house that when the president came in with a lot of people he hated, they hired this bunch of strange people end his first job was to track ted kennedy because he thought that ted kennedy would be his opponent in 1972 and he learned to get the goods on him. always willing to get a good on people. the main person he wanted to get the goods on was daniel ellsberg
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who had leaked the pentagon papers. kissinger was very worked up about this and had gotten nixon worked up. and there was actually then committed the most dangerous. he was far more concerned about having been found out then the watergate break-in. and the plumbers were looking for leaks and they went out to california and they raided the offers of daniel ellsberg's psychiatrist. so imagine that. and there was just one problem. they broke nok and they had their picture taken and they were so proud in front of the
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doctor's office door. and they were using cia equipment and cameras. the cia got these pictures and said, this is a violation of the fourth amendment beyond anything we can imagine. that is what the cover-up was really about. and fortunately for the country, the plumbers must have everything they did and we would've been in far deeper trouble. and that was just an amazing time, things were coming at you all the time. with all due respect it would've been total chaos in some ways. we have the morning paper and we've had the morning papers and the evening news. and you won't believe what we just heard and it was just like that all the time.
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there was the famous saturday night and i was actually on a television program at the time and we were sitting there and it was like banana republic, the president has ordered this and that, the chinese general to fire archibald cox and he has refused and he has been hired. and so he refused and he was fired. so this went on through the night and the bulletins were coming in. and it was banana republic. it was very disturbing. downtown san diego. the fbi surrounded headquarters of the often and so it was kind of crazy. and so we just never knew what
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was coming next. i did a reflection on the freighter about what kind of people were these and how did this happen and i would say we didn't have the time to even think about that then. i tried to and i had various reflections through the book about what are we to draw from this and what kind of country is this and how can this be. and i said that too much is going on to put these things through. we are absorbing events one after the other and trying to prepare ourselves for a bigger struggle to come. so the administration said to me that the story of the nixon admin at region is those who were in over their heads. and that does not explain it. it was a fanatic quality and the weaving together of their public policy and piety which may have deceived even then.
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and they cannot escape the thought that the president set the tone and my feeling throughout this is that you can look at many situations and say, well, you don't have to do talk about who knew what when. how did this come about. and one cannot escape the thought that the president said that his own. a man with a striking amount of connections, he seems to have gone through life as if in constant combat. confusing legitimate opposition with vendetta. most of us have an inner jury, those whose judgment we trust and who we count on to level with the. nixon does not seem to have had an inner jury. he was also very interesting but very strange.
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just to give you a flavor of what it was like to try to follow him and see what he's trying to tell us, there was a rather famous event or he spoke to a group of editors and just to give you a sense of the language of this, david told me when to pull the plug. we were in this disclosure stage and we talked about how the break-in was june 17 and nixon came back from florida where he also had a place near his one friend. and he came back and we know that he called john mitchell. but this is when the cover-up began. but we didn't quite know that
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then because the transcripts didn't come out until later that summer. and it told us a lot, but there was a lot more to come in the last couple of years. and tonight he said that he did call them in order to cheer him up after watergate. and he goes into detail and he talks about how there were 18 and a half minutes missing and they tried to pin it on his secretary, rose mary woods and it didn't work, she couldn't do it. in the end it was nixon at camp david and erasing 18.5 minutes from that day with the cover-up. and i put that all together later. and so we are further and further from the point and they explain these little things that
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they had. this little pill box on my desk, he said it was nixon who started this and i remember them saying that we should all do this and we should put the flag decals on our cars, don't let them take that with us. and so they had appropriated that symbol to this day. so he said that president johnson had much matter material and there had been reports about it. and he said i am not criticizing , far be it for me from me to do a thing like that, that would be wrong. and the conversations with
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mitchell didn't exist and he said it was one of the great disappointments because i wanted the evidence out. he said the plumbers were established that were endangering national security and senator baker agreed. when asked what they were doing, they were critiquing the johnson administration and of course it raise questions about the vietnam war and kissinger continued for about five years and then in the end i got about the same deal when they first came in. when asked how watergate could happen, the president replied 72 was a very busy year and the measurements have been taken in this trip to the south and he
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said the backup plane hadn't been brought down so they had used as much fuel at the time. he asked if it went down then they don't have to impeach me. and so he talked about the vice president, which he had held out from the government and then he said i want to say this to the television audience. i've made my mistakes. i have never profited from public service and i have earned every cent and in all my years i have never obstructed justice. then came the famous immortal line that we welcome this kind of thing that people have to know whether or not their president is a crook. well, i am not a crook. now, this is the president of the united states. and when you remember dignity,
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it appeared at times to be funny but we didn't know that some people's phones were tapped. some journalists phones were tapped. a friend of mine learned that her very intimate conversations with her close friends were being listened to at the justice department or in the right situation of the white house. the paper hadn't come and they said that they took the papers and nothing became preposterous because it was all preposterous but also scary. the president suggested that they blow up the brookings institution because he believed and he was told by these individuals that some papers left over from the pentagon papers are still there and they
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should go in there and get those papers. the president suggested this that they blow up the bookings institution. so someone tried to top it. but that was rare. and then we also have a president who drink a lot of the time. slur his words and he was also on a medication that was really for convulsions and it was not meant for depression. but suddenly they were given him this for depression. and it enhances the effects of alcoholism. he would pick up the phone at 3:00 a.m. and called david cohen and he would say fire everyone on this's floor of the state department. and he would say that is not appealable. but it was up to people like him
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in such folks to decide whether or not to carry out these orders, which was a scary thing and we didn't know it at the time. and as i told you i have a passion about the subject of impeachment and it is turned around so easily now and it is so very dangerous and it's a very serious business and serious people went about it seriously. he would have been impeached by the house, but some people were so afraid and he still had a following. he was not an easily dismissed figure. but he had a substantial following and republicans are very torn and they wanted him out of there. and they also didn't want the followers to be coming at them for reelection. and so they were saying where is the smoking gun. i happen to hate the concept of
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a smoking gun because that simplifies it. and there was a whole array of things. but this one thing was found that shows him ordering obstruction of justice and that gave the republican senators excuse to say that you have to go, because they didn't want to deal with it any longer. so what is the moral of the story? the moral of the story is watch out. we had several occasions when distinguished novelist had said oh, there is a new nixon. but there was not. and so reading the stories with some care is important. we had some reforms that stayed with us and some that did not but there was campaign finance on the agenda.
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many of the things we were involved in and i have a passion for the subject and wanted to keep the book alive. i hope you and your children to read it. those that have no idea what happened during the ordinary time. the constitution was truly at stake. and i hope if you've read it before that you would enjoy it again. i found myself shrieking and laughing as i read it again. and i hope that i've made some little contribution to history and to your children's understanding of our history. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, elizabeth. you helped us from generation to generation and this is perfect for lots of reasons. we will begin the question and answer period. so just go to the microphone and if you feel comfortable, please say your name. elizabeth will then begin to
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answer your questions. >> don't be shy. >> tom hughes, don't you have a question? you always have a question. [laughter] >> hello, my name is gregory and i'm from the caribbean. i'm from a different part of the world. the most important thing is do you believe based on her own experiences that what happened to nixon and while reagan could also basically potentially result in impeaching him. >> iran-contra. >> yes, but it is an important question here. a constitutional question, in my
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opinion. do you believe that watergate might potentially show that there are problems with the u.s. constitution that may be there is too much power within office of the president and if you have people there surrounding the president, that things can get under control of it parliamentary system and so i was wondering if maybe it's possible that you could talk about that and what you feel about that. >> i thought about it a lot and i read about it as well. the founding fathers were pretty smart men, but there is a lot they couldn't anticipate. and they certainly didn't spell out what they meant by impeachment, they said high crimes and misdemeanors. so we've spent a lot of time discussing this. and it was really a kind of heady constitutional discussion
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that went on. and you are right, i cobroadcasters with judy woodward on pbs and they made the decision that it was impeachment. but it was a serious problem and it off the books operation that went against a congressional law. a lot of it was a series of events and across the board and i'm often asked unexpectedly what about now and that this is nothing. we have had nothing remotely like it where the president himself condones not just criminal activities but this whole atmosphere of fear and vengeance and enemies. and theres


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